LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal lawsuit has been filed against Louisville Metro Government after one woman said she has permanent physical and mental injuries due to "aggressive" actions by LMPD during protests honoring Breonna Taylor this May.
Attorneys for 24-year-old Shannyn White said her rights were violated when LMPD met protesters with "a show of force" that included flashbangs, tear gas and pepper balls in downtown Louisville May 29.
White and her attorneys held a news conference at Jefferson Square Park Wednesday to share details of the allegations.
"No officers ever got on the bull horn to announce a dispersal order, an unlawful assembly order or a warning that shots were going to be fired," attorney Ashlea Hellmann said.
The complaint says White was hit directly in the face with a rubber bullet while protesting on W. Jefferson Street "despite being unarmed and outmatched" by LMPD.
"The only 'conduct' Ms. White was alleged to have engaged in was the conduct of a peaceful, unarmed protester, who was not fleeing arrest or posing a threat to officer," the complaint says.
Hellman said protesters who were medics at the scene rushed White to University Hospital.
Attorneys said White's wound was "so significant" that she could not see out of her eyes due to swelling, saying doctors at UofL Hospital could not stitch it up. She also returned to the hospital two days later after experiencing dizziness, vomiting and vision issues.
"I'm not even sure I've properly processed it yet," White said. "It's definitely had an effect on my mental health; I can't even sit through fireworks or here a bottle of champagne be popped without intense panic attacks."
White's attorneys have filed Open Records Requests to LMPD but they say they have either been denied or ignored. They filed the federal lawsuit for violation of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendments.
Attorneys say White has a large permanent scar, as well as permanent green marks from paint stained onto the projectile.
White is seeking up to $15,000 in damages. In addition to Metro Government, the lawsuit identifies two LMPD officers, one who shot White and another who is believed to have ordered the officer to shoot.
LMPD has said in the past officers don't use rubber bullets. It is LMPD's policy to not comment on pending litigation.
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